Published October 23, 2014
Dr. Vicki Pappas, who in addition to her professional position listed below, is also the Chairman of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, writes this:
SPEAKING OF DISABILITIES
People first” is the most important principle in communicating with and about people with disabilities, said Vicki Pappas, director of the Center for Planning and Policy Studies at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. This standard applies in a literal sense when describing people — “person with autism” is appropriate; “autistic person” is not — and in a figurative sense when interacting with someone who has a disability. “People with disabilities would prefer to be seen as people, not as objects of pity or as heroes who have overcome adversity,” she said. “When you meet someone who has a disability, say hello, make eye contact, and give yourself time to get to know that person like you would with any new acquaintance
For the full article and more of Dr. Vicki Pappas’ tips for effective communication:
(Indiana University’s Disability Tipsheet, Feb. 27, 2007)
(Thanks to his mother, Christine Barnett)
A short article from The Mother List with a 22 minute video:
This Mother Tore Off Labels And Nurtured Her Son’s Hidden Genius
Christine Barnett’s book: Goodreads:
The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius
See also Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Welcomes Exceptional Young Talent & Jacob’s Place
Picture from The Proactionary Transhumanist
Also from The Proactive Transhumanist:
During a TedXTeen 2012 event, Jacob had given an inspirational speech, arguing in favor for everyone to abandon the archaic ideal to learn as much as possible and to instead replace it with thinking. In doing so, he “theorizes” . . . that you’ll begin opening yourself to a vast array of possibilities and creativity. The video is provided below:
Published October 16, 2014
gifts , inspiration , Orthodoxy , stories
A Scripture, a question, a story …
1 Corinthians 12:20-26
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Question: Hi. I am a teacher at a school for students with Special Needs. Within this school we have students with Down’s Syndrome. In your opinion, why did God create such a disability and how and in what state do such people with this disability achieve ‘everlasting life’? I find this a stumbling block in my spiritual path. Regards, Steve.
Answer: Steve, this is certainly a deep and serious question, of the sort that eventually led me to the Orthodox Church. I would like to share a story from an Orthodox list:
The Story: Where is God’s Perfection
Published October 13, 2014
families , gifts , inspiration , stories , vision
Melissa Riggio- Photograph by Annie Griffiths Belt
This is a page-long National Geographic article in which Melissa shares her dreams and also her life with the genetic condition Down Syndrome.
I Have Down Syndrome–Know Me Before You Judge Me
Here’s a poem by Melissa:
Love is a potion
Love is everything
Love is all around
Love is not hopeless
Love is a passion
Love will not stop
Love is an ocean
Here’s her weblog, on which we are given the very sad news that Melissa has died.
To access: Melissa Ann Riggio: 1988-2008
Allow her words, from the article and from the poems, to inspire you. Here’s another of her poems:
I’m in the Ring outside
I’m following my belief
I’m looking at the sky
I saw God following my heart
I’m an ordinary woman
The Ring is falling down my way
The wind is blowing me away
The Ring is falling down,
Down my way
The wind is blowing me away
And so I came back to
The center of the Ring
Am I just a broken angel?
God has sent me here to heal
To be an ordinary woman.
This is a post from a blog entitled Rose with Thorns: Hope of Recovery for All
- St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
It is written by a young lady named Anna Rose who is a student at Oxford University in England. She confesses in her About section that she has some disabilities. She also states the purpose of her blog:
. . . to help support and give hope to all of those struggling with any mental illness, learning disability, and hardship.
She does speak of her baptism, but she is not an Orthodox Christian; rather, she is a Catholic. However, she speaks in positive terms of a visit to an Orthodox Church in the blog post in question, which can be accessed here:
Feeling Safe to Explore Something New
She speaks of her own struggles in entering a new and strange place and how confident it made her feel to be able to do so. She also had this to say about the Church, in regard to those fears: “The whole church was so majestic and awe-inspiring. Soon my wonder conquered my fear.”
Fr. Stephen explores “the waves and billows,” the struggles, inner and outer, that an Orthodox family with a disabled member can face. He concludes with a story of an encounter with a person with disabilities who has received acceptance in her own Orthodox parish.
It can be read in its entirety by clicking on the following web address:
Orthodox Church in America, Resource Handbook / Parish Development / Volume III – 2010: Children with Special Needs and the Orthodox Christian Family, by Father Steven P. Tsichlis